Service Learning Institute returns to Steamboat

Despite program cuts, community service program hosts 2nd year

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To sign up for the Service Learning Institute or for more information, contact Youth Corps’ Director of Personnel Jenny Holcomb at jenny@rockymounta..., or 970-879-2135, ext. 1. Applications also can be found online at www.rockymountainyouthcorps.org.

— A community service program for students entering sixth through ninth grades in the fall returns this summer for its second year, despite cuts to federal funding.

The Service Learning Institute, which provides a variety of stewardship and educational opportunities for local youths in Routt County, was in jeopardy after the federal Learn and Serve America program was eliminated.

However, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, which operates the free program sponsored by the Routt County Youth Services Coalition, secured enough funding to offer the program again, said Youth Corps Associate Director Mark Wertheimer.

“This year, despite cuts on the federal budget that impacted our program, thanks to local funding sources and statewide funding sources, we’re proud to be able to still offer the program and serve 40 local youths this summer,” he said.

The Service Learning Institute takes place during two-week sessions that run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 13 to June 23, June 27 to July 8 — Friday, July 8 replaces July 4 — July 11 to July 21 and July 24 to Aug. 4.

However, Wertheimer said all participants will take part in the Re-Tree Colorado event June 11.

During the two-week sessions, Wertheimer said, participants work on service projects, which still are being coordinated with land management agencies and local nonprofit organizations, ranging from conservation to community gardening. He said the institute offers a mix of service work, educational sessions, activities and games led by Youth Corps crew leaders.

“The program is really designed to engage youth in service and develop their sense of civic engagement, to help them understand the value of community,” Wertheimer said. “And it’s also a great opportunity for them to have fun and work with peers, youths of a similar age in a crew format.”

He said the institute’s first season, last summer, was a success with youths and their parents providing positive feedback.

Wertheimer encouraged interested students to apply by June 3, but he said applications would be accepted until the sessions are filled.

To sign up for the Service Learning Institute or for more information, contact Youth Corps Personnel Director Jenny Holcomb at jenny@rockymountainyouthcorps.com or 970-879-2135, ext. 1. Applications also can be found online at www.rockymountainyouthcorps.org.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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